We’ve all had the experience of sending an email, voicemail or text and not receiving a response.  Similarly, we have had the experience of receiving an email, voicemail, or text and not responding.

Some of us opt to ignore the lack of response to our communication efforts or forget all about it.  Others have a negative reaction to the lack of response but are unsure of what to do next.

Let’s first understand that there may be reasons for a lack of response such as:

  1. Your effort was not transmitted to the other person(s) and therefore you weren’t actually ignored.
  2. Your effort was received but the other person was handling another situation or an emergency and hadn’t yet gotten to you.
  3. Your effort was conveyed in a manner that was viewed as lackluster and the recipient felt no sense of urgency in responding or was confused by your message.

Options if you’re awaiting a response:

  • Track when you last called/emailed/texted so you have a record of how long ago you communicated.
  • If you sent an email, review it for: correct recipient, subject line specificity, clarity, length, call-to-action.  Each of these is important to ensure a timely response.
  • Inquire if the receiver has a spam filter or firewall in which your email may be caught. Request being “white listed.”
  • Based on your timeframe record, pick up the phone and communicate in that medium since the lack of response may be due to something unforeseen.  Prepare what you want to say and clearly articulate your message with a neutral tone.
  • Avoid ranting or pointing a finger at the other person, as that creates a negative reaction and may be completely unwarranted.

Options if you don’t respond to communication or your response isn’t timely:

  • Your lack of response is your choice but know that it may present you in a less than positive light.
  • If you’re busy with other priorities, simply send a response acknowledging the communication and approximately when you’ll respond.
  • Politely ask another member of your team to support you by sending out an interim response, as appropriate.

**If you’re the sender, take responsibility as stated above and ensure you’ve covered all your bases.

**If you’re the receiver, assuming you did receive an email, voicemail, or text…ignoring is unprofessional.

Please remember that responding is always preferable to opting not to respond.